You know how they say, what you do on the first day dictates your fate throughout the remaining year? Well, think as you may, but this time; I really did fall for it! Those who know me won’t be too shocked at this declaration; they call me the reigning queen of delusions (and hasty conclusions); one whose crown is always heavy with jewels of imagination. Before I go on, I apologize for the excess information on me. In my defense its 2020 and the only thing in plenty worth bothering is a virus, fake news and Dalgona Coffee. So, here we go.
This time, 1st January 2020 looked different than the rest of my firsts. I woke up at 10 am, from a hangover in a different city. Got dressed and grabbed breakfast at a vegan café where the burger I ordered tasted healthier than a veggies basket itself. The thought of having a burger, nonetheless was enough to keep my mind from frying too much, because I had at least actioned my very first resolution; ‘to eat healthy; stay fit in 2020’. Later in the day, I chose to take a flight back home; hoping ‘catch more flights than feelings’ would be my take off into a year of travelling, unraveling and soul searching. The idea in my head was simple; more airport lounges, fewer homes couches. Not so much of a voracious reader, I also decided to hoard some books at the airport. Ever since social media poached my life and slyly replaced bedtime reading with full-time stalking, my attention span seems to have left on a long vacation, that too, without a return ticket. Books, as the legends say, are the sole revivers of the lost mind, became my choice of company back home. I almost finished half a book in the flight, feeling good as if, I had already made up for all those years I lost out on reading.
I reached home late in the evening, spent time with family over a nice home- cooked meal. On the table, we discussed our plans for the future; a practice my family ardently follows each year, in person or over video call. As I drew myself to bed that night, a feeling of calm had taken over me. I felt light and hopeful. Scratching my eyes fervently, I chanted out loud ‘20/20 vision’ and slept off.
As I sit down to type this, on October 6th; a pandemic has taken over the world. It almost seems like we are in the middle of the imminent World War III. Not principally of course, because this time vengeance and bloodshed look like cold, cough and fever, except they bear a strangely similar degree of impact. Talking about it inevitably takes me back to that time in February, when Corona- virus was, in fact, just a 'bat'tle that China was fighting alone, as the world speculated theories about an alleged biological warfare over fancy brunches and bubbly. Little did we know then, we were going to making history now, sitting at home – clad in masks, soaked in sanitizers, lighting candles and clanging utensils.
Today, India is the second worst affected nation in the world, right after the US, with over 6M+ casualties. While the threat to life looms large, there is also a gnawing uncertainty and discomfort, that poses challenges of its own. Our lifestyles witnessed a dramatic turn, over night, as we embraced the new normal.
Zoom became a Conference room, Skype, a social lounge, Kitchens turned into culinary schools and terraces were converted into gym grounds. As we got more time on hand, that was otherwise spent in traffic, crowds and long queues; some began rekindling with things they always enjoyed doing, while others discovering new skills and talent. However, as we all found a way to cope with the new way of life, it came at a heavy emotional expense that hit our mental pockets differently.
For me personally, the year seems like a game of Ludo, where every move has been met with an unexpected strike, shaking my inner inertia each time. On a scale of happy to sad, I have gone from feeling purposeless and dejected to glad and grateful. Although ‘glam and tasteful’ would’ve been much better, a deal! But between these cemented emotions, I also felt bouts of anxiety, tons of insecurity and an unassuming gloom. Some of it was triggered by my own shortcomings, some by the tragic events that shook this year and others by the polished accomplishments of my friends (and foes). There have been days where I’ve made a To-Do-list and followed through, but more, where I haven’t done so, all because lethargy and lull had me consumed in full glory. All I did was sit in a corner, watch shows on Netflix, scroll up and down on social media and unabashedly snore and sulk. These were the times where my productivity would go for a toss and the only flip I was making, was towards helplessness.
One of the days, my mother caught me in my disgruntled state. She swung by my room with a brimming cup of tea; a beverage I’ve come to appreciate only while adulting. She told me that the tea she made always comprised 5 ingredients – water, milk, tealeaves, ginger and curry leaves, with a variation of spices here and there. Ordinarily, she went on to say, tea helps boost metabolism and reduce risk of several heart diseases. But in times like these, each ingredient in the concoction serves a higher purpose, contributing in this fight against Corona- virus in ways we don’t even realize. For example, ginger boasts of anti- inflammatory properties, which help mollify a raging throat ache. But we wouldn’t appreciate its mystic powers as much as we do now, right? Now that we know that a sour throat is one of the most common symptoms of Coronavirus.
Similarly, she said, all the time that we have been spending, albeit inconsistent, in learning to cook, write blogs, play an instrument or practice yoga, may seem like a means of passing time or staying busy, at best. But in actuality, it is helping us prepare for the next conquest; that we are yet to face, whose value one will only understand once met. In short, what she meant was, sometimes the wisest thing one can do is keep steering the wheel, even when the route is replete with bumps, clogs and congestion, for each road has a destination. The only difference is that some take courage to find it, others mull over a cup of tea in the middle of a pandemic to realize it.
It took a while for her words to sink in but it made a whole lot of sense. In short, I would just like to say that 2020 has been anything but ideal so far. Every time I have gone looking for light at the end of the tunnel, all I have found is traffic policemen ready to issue a fine for not wearing masks. But, as I introspect about where I stand today, I feel a bit at ease. Its true that I am far from accomplishing any of the goals I had so passionately pegged for this year, and even farther from becoming a blogger/yoga enthusiast – something I was sure of at the onset of the pandemic. But I am working on it, not every day but on most of the days. When I am not, I am decluttering my thoughts, lending the good ones to those in need, discarding the trashy ones that are as good as plastic waste, all the while making room for some ‘positivetea’ (thanks to my mamma dear). It’s helping me a fair bit and you should try it too.